What’s news in the Northwest today:
CENTRALIA, Wash. – A Centralia woman, 23, was soaking wet, in her underwear, and covered with scratches from brush when she was rescued Thursday morning after crawling out of a swamp near the Nisqually River onto Interstate 5. A truck driver, John C. Davis, Portland, was changing a flat Thursday morning on northbound I-5 when he noticed the woman while she was climbing over a guardrail and that she was injured and obviously extremely cold. He offered his assistance and realized she needed medical attention. Davis drove the woman to a weigh station in DuPont and called 911. He gave her food and water while they waited for first-responders. She is expected to make a full recovery. The woman and a Centralia man had apparently driven down a dirt road and for reasons as yet unknown, left the vehicle. The pair were together willingly, police said. The woman said she took off most of her clothes after they became soaked with water and heavy while she waded through the swamp just north of the Nisqually River.
Boise airport police officer victim of hit-and-run
BOISE — Police in Caldwell are investigating a hit-and-run crash that injured an off-duty Boise airport police officer who was training for a bike race. Boise police say 46-year-old Chris Cowling was riding his bicycle in Caldwell at about 1 p.m. Thursday when he was hit by a maroon Pontiac Grand Am. Police say Cowling was hospitalized in serious condition at St. Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in Boise. Caldwell police are seeking help locating the car, which is believed to have damage to its left front fender and hood. The driver was described as a female with long, dark hair. Cowling has been with the Boise Police Airport Unit for 10 years.
Man sentenced to life in prison for boy’s death
BOISE — A man was sentenced today to life in prison for killing his girlfriend’s 8-year-old son, then stuffing rocks in the boy’s pants pockets and dumping his body in an irrigation canal. As 4th District Judge Darla Williamson handed down Daniel Ehrlick’s sentence on a first-degree murder conviction, she said she could not force him to endure the same pain he inflicted on Robert Manwill, such as dropping his knees on the boy’s chest, because it would be cruel. But Ehrlick had committed cruel acts on Robert in the privacy of his home, she said. “Robert died all alone in substantial pain with no one there to care for him and love him,” Williamson said. Ehrlick, 38, was convicted in June and will not have the possibility of parole. The boy’s mother, Melissa Jenkins, also was sentenced Friday to 25 years in prison for her role in the 2009 slaying. She pleaded guilty in January to aiding and abetting second-degree murder as part of agreement with prosecutors. Jenkins, 32, sobbed as she faced the boy’s father, Charles Manwill, and told him that she would repent for Robert’s death for the rest of her life.
Caldwell police investigating woman’s death
CALDWELL, Idaho — Caldwell police are looking for a 51-year-old registered sex offender in the death of his former landlady, whose body was found at her house. Police Chief Chris Allgood said the death was reported at 9:40 p.m. Thursday. Officials are looking for Theodore J. Kestner. He is about 6 feet tall and 200 pounds with brown hair and brown eyes. He may be driving a white 1992 GMC extended cab pickup with the Idaho license plate 2CHM443. Caldwell police say Kestner is a registered sex offender with a lengthy criminal history and should be considered very dangerous. Allgood said Kestner reportedly rented a room from the victim until recently, when they had a disagreement and Kestner moved out. The victim’s name, age and cause of death have not been released.
Starbucks CEO hosts town hall on politics
PORTLAND — Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz changed how America drinks coffee. Now, he wants to change the political system. The leader of the world’s largest coffee company says U.S. political leaders have created a “crisis of confidence” with their political wrangling that is wreaking havoc on the economy. He said he wants to give a voice to all citizens by hosting a national telephone forum on Tuesday. He’s also running ads in the New York Times and USA Today ahead of the event, featuring an open letter that urges Americans to participate in the forum and insist politicians end their hyperpartisan behavior. “We must send the message to today’s elected officials … that the time to put citizenship ahead of partisanship is now,” Schultz said in the letter.
Retired Justice O’Connor hears cases in Montana
MISSOULA — Retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor advised University of Montana law students to “be succinct and powerful,” in writing court briefs. O’Connor joined 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals judges Stephen Reinhart of Los Angeles and Sidney Thomas of Billings in Missoula on Thursday to hear arguments in three Montana cases. Afterward, O’Connor spoke about her two favorite causes — advocating for appointed, not elected, judges and for the return of civics to public school curricula. Thomas advised students to keep their briefs, well, brief. He said judges read 25 to 30 cases a week, which can make for long and sometimes dull reading. Reinhart said attorneys should be alert to clues from judges that might indicate what part of the case they’re interested in and should be nimble enough to adjust their oral arguments accordingly. “Know what you are talking about” in oral arguments, Reinhart said.
Idaho teen athlete saved by coach, defibrillator
AMERICAN FALLS, Idaho — Quick-thinking coaches and a school’s new defibrillator helped save the life of an American Falls High School athlete after the boy collapsed at practice. Superintendent Ron Bolinger said 17-year-old Ross Palmer, a star on the football team, collapsed near the end of practice Tuesday night. The coaching staff couldn’t find a pulse and started CPR. Bolinger said another coach ran inside to get a defibrillator that the school had recently acquired. The second shock from the machine to the young athlete’s heart started it beating again. Medical responders confirmed that CPR alone wouldn’t have saved the teen, Bolinger said. “What we found out is it’s because of the fact that we have the defibrillator and they were cool enough to know what to do is why the young man is living,” he said. Palmer was taken to a Salt Lake City hospital for treatment. Bolinger said no one knew the boy had a heart condition until he collapsed.
Former cowboy lassoes dogs in Yakima Valley canal
MOXEE, Wash. — A farmworker who says he learned how to lasso 30 years ago while working on a cattle ranch in Mexico still knows his ropes. Jesus Villanueva was working near Moxee on Wednesday when he heard a disturbance along the Roza irrigation canal. A woman and her husband were trying to save their two dogs being swept away in the current. The dogs couldn’t climb up the steep concrete sides of the canal. A Yakima sheriff’s deputy had a rope but was having no luck. It took Villanueva just one lasso for each dog to bring them ashore. The Yakima Herald-Republic reports Noya Deats had run nearly three miles along the canal, trying to save her dogs while calling her husband and the sheriff’s office for help.
Washington human rights commission investigates complainer
VANCOUVER, Wash. — The Washington Human Rights Commission has closed its investigation of a Vancouver fundraiser that advertised itself as “guys only,” but the commission is still looking to prosecute whoever filed a discrimination complaint about the event. Executive Director Sharon Ortiz told The Columbian the person who complained wasted staff resources. She asked an assistant attorney general and the Clark County prosecutor’s office to look into possible criminal charges for interfering with an investigation. Ortiz says the commission was already working with the Fort Vancouver National Trust on last month’s “Suits and a Keg” event, and it agreed to make it clear women were welcome. The complaint came from a person who said she was deaf and breast-feeding and was told she could not attend. She could not be located.
Central Kitsap teacher charged with voyeurism
BREMERTON, Wash. — A Central Kitsap School District teacher has been charged with voyeurism following an investigation that began when he was caught taking suspicious photos of women and girls last month at the Kitsap County Fair. The Kitsap Sun reports 44-year-old Sean Steven Johnson appeared in district court Thursday and is jailed with bail set at $100,000. Court documents say investigators who searched his camera found nearly 1,200 pictures of women and girls, including some taken under tables and bleachers. The school district says Johnson has been an elementary teacher since 1999 and is now on paid leave.
Okanogan sheriff fights crime like Batman
OKANOGAN, Wash. — Okanogan County Sheriff Frank Rogers says he’s been a fan of Batman since he was a kid. Rogers says he likes the Caped Crusader because “he’s just a regular guy with a lot of cool gadgets.” The sheriff wears the bat silhouette on a yellow oval on his bullet-proof vest. He has the logo on the handle of his pistol and on the grill of his patrol vehicle. His cell phone rings to the Batman theme. The sheriff’s office is full of Batman figurines and knickknacks. Rogers says most are gifts he’s received since his election in 2002 after people learned he’s such a fan of the Dark Knight. Rogers told The Wenatchee World being a Batman fan helps him relate to children he contacts on the job.
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